MNP, 3G and mobile operators

I have been watching the current happenings in the Indian mobile market and have made some interesting observations.

Idea Cellular has launched a big campaign about Mobile Number Potability. I blogged about my view on MNP here. Interestingly, MNP can not work without collaboration and n/w-s/w readiness from all the mobile operators in a circle. And even then only one of the operators is investing so much money in the advertisement and others are completely ignoring it.

Similarly only Airtel seems to be behind projecting 3G as their USP. While this is a true that almost all the players have the 3G Bandwidth available and would be launching it more or less this quarter (Vodafone and Airtel are definitely launching it this quarter, no clue about Idea 3G yet)

Vodafone is just continuing with it's sluggish advertisements of "happy to help" and "wherever you go". No signs of MNP and 3G being advertised. [Interesting Update: While searching for Airtel website, Google threw an Ad of Vodafone talking about MNP :)]

Docomo has already launched the 3G few weeks back and the tariffs were pretty competitive and not very high as they were expected to be. This surely is expected to put price pressure on other operators and probably that is why everyone is waiting to see how the 3G prices are received by the consumers and how it affects P&L of Docomo.

I was looking at these various operators' websites and was surprised to see that all these three operators have already made MNP available but it was without a bang I would say. Even Idea campaign didn't highlight it as "launched". I always remember the ad as "MNP coming soon". I am yet to check on other players like Aircel and Uninor.

All this makes me wonder about few things:
  1. Why does Idea feel that only they will benefit from launching MNP? Or does the other players fear that they would actually be loosing the customers and hence underplaying the MNP?
  2. If 3G spectrum is already available with the carriers and so the infrastructure, what is it that is keeping operators like Idea and Vodafone underplay this launch?
  3. Did BSNL get any first mover advantage for having 3G launched much earlier?
  4. Don't the comparatively smaller players like Aircel and Uninor feel that they have better chances of increasing the consumer base through MNP, sheer because they are sort of "unknown Gods" to most of the customers?
It would be interesting to observe the changes in the market share of these operators a few months down the line, to check if MNP has helped them or not and also how 3G gets accepted in the Indian market.


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